Understanding Cloud ERP
Enterprise resource planning is a business management software that integrates and automates essential business functions and creates a single source of reliable data. ERP has independent modules for production planning, procurement, inventory, manufacturing, compliance, finance, sales & marketing, etc. that work together to streamline processes and optimize workflows. Cloud ERP can make all these modules accessible online, simply on a web browser.
The complete suite of ERP functionality is available in cloud ERP, along with the convenience of logging in over the internet from any device, anywhere, at any time. The vendor owns the required infrastructure for cloud ERP, as opposed to on-premises ERP, where the client has to invest in developing and maintaining servers, hardware, systems, etc. Thus, the choice of cloud ERP can save a considerable amount of money for the client, freeing up funds to be invested in other business activities.
An organization owns a specific instance of the cloud ERP software by paying a periodic (monthly, quarterly, annual, etc.) subscription fee to the vendor. The client can access a full host of ERP features through a secure URL and store their data on a secure cloud. Moreover, cloud ERP takes advantage of cloud computing to access and analyze massive amounts of data in near-real time. Keeping these factors in mind, implementing cloud ERP might be a wise decision!
Cloud ERP Deployment Methods
Before speaking about the essential criteria for selecting the best cloud ERP system, let us first discuss the deployment options available to the clients:
Multi-tenant SaaS – The same version of the ERP software and its connected infrastructure is used by multiple organizations. Although, one company’s data remains inaccessible to the other companies.
Single-tenant SaaS – A single version of the cloud ERP solution is dedicated to a single client. No other company can use the same instance. The cost of Single-tenant SaaS is higher than multi-tenant.
Public Cloud – Multiple organizations use the same cloud computing services over a public cloud. The data remains quite secure. Examples of public cloud include Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.
Private Cloud – A private cloud setup is created by purchasing a dedicated server space at a data center. The services of a private cloud are not shared with any other organization.
Hybrid ERP – A combination of on-premises ERP software with a private or public cloud for computing, storage, and services.
The constraints of investment, security, and flexibility play an important role in the selection of one of these options.
7 Essential Selection Criteria for the Best Cloud ERP Software
Before deciding to implement a cloud ERP solution, read the list of essential criteria for the best cloud-based ERP software:
Mobility: This is one of the primary reasons for companies to choose cloud ERP over traditional ERP systems. Cloud ERP can move with you, wherever you go, from customer sales meetings to remote worksites to your home office. Fake cloud ERPs can only be accessed via a client-side remote terminal application, which can only run-on systems connected through a VPN. A true-blue cloud ERP gives you access to your data from any browser and any computer, but only with valid login credentials.
Security: Some clients might have reservations about storing their data on a cloud. However, Cloud ERP systems come with security tools that actively use the HTTPS protocol to deal with web traffic and highly secure SDKs to implement encryption for apps and default encryption for data in-store. A business can remain confident that its data is always backed up, and the vendor is armed with planned and practiced disaster recovery procedures. Further, security updates are made available by the vendor as per the latest technological trends to keep your data safe.
Accessibility: The client can simply ask the vendor to create User IDs and passwords based on the subscription they choose, and user access can be enabled in a matter of a few minutes or hours. After setting up their user IDs and passwords, users can access business information in real-time, from anywhere and on any device. This ensures employees across the organization are working with the same data, no matter the business unit or location, and can make decisions faster and more confidently.
Scalability: If you are stuck with a fake cloud ERP, you will need to overbuy the subscription to handle peak loads. Whereas, a real cloud ERP can add/remove users quickly and easily. As your organization grows in size, new users can be added according to your subscription. There is no need to add more servers for more users, locations, or subsidiaries, which makes the scaling up of the business much easier. The ability to manage multiple business units from a single ERP solution irrespective of their location gives the business a standardized culture of operation.
Flexibility: The elements of the external business environment are changing every moment and your business needs to keep up with it. Also, every organization has its unique workflows and processes, therefore, cloud ERP software should have the flexibility to allow for custom adaptations to be made by the client. A cloud-based, flexible ERP allows a company to easily change and extend business processes across the enterprise. A flexible ERP also significantly reduces and eliminates the need for manual processes and workarounds to meet business change.
Stability: As the entire system is seeded onto a cloud, stability is one of the major concerns for cloud ERP implementation. The software solution should be stable while performing the most complex tasks and deliver results in near-real time. Bug fixes for the cloud ERP system should be provided proactively by the vendor and the system operations shouldn’t behave erratically at the time of updates. Even if the cloud ERP is open at different locations, it should deliver peak performance without any lags or discrepancies.
Longevity: A cloud ERP software should be future-ready. The vendor shoulders the responsibility of providing software updates and technological upgrades to their clients. This ensures that the client is operating on the most up-to-date version of the ERP software without incurring any extra cost. Business practices are prone to change, and vendors generally promise to stay ahead of these changes with their incremental updates. Cloud ERP can leverage a single platform for all newly developed applications, thus reducing operational costs and complexity.